#2829: Captain America

CAPTAIN AMERICA

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Donning a brand new suit and wings from Wakanda, Sam Wilson proudly takes on the mantle, ready to unite people as the world’s new Captain America.”

When Steve passed the shield to Sam in Avengers Endgame, Sam’s taking up the Captain America mantle seemed pretty inevitable, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier devoted a lot of its time to showing that even when something is the inevitable or even most common sense outcome, that doesn’t mean that the journey there is always the easiest.  Much like Steve, Sam’s own hesitance at accepting the role, coupled with outside factors believing him wrong for the role based on superficial factors, are ultimately the very reasons that Sam is the right choice for the part, and the show pulls double duty of convincing both Sam and the audience watching that there’s really no other choice for the new Captain America.  And, if he’s going to be the new Captain America, then he damn well better get a cool new action figure while he’s at it, right?  Right.  So, let’s look at that, huh?

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Following in the footsteps of Homecoming‘s Vulture, Captain America is both the final single release in the Disney+ series of Marvel Legends and its Build-A-Figure, by virtue of his wings being parted out amongst the other figures, while the core figure himself is sold by himself.  This allows the wings to be far more intricate in their design than they might otherwise have been, while also giving people the option of just getting that main Cap look, which Sam does, admittedly have for quite a bit of his screen time.  The wings are certainly less key a piece for him than his Falcon design, or even really that prior Vulture figure, so I think it was a pretty wise choice.  The figure stands 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation in his single-packed form, with an additional 6 points courtesy of the wings when he’s fully assembled.  His articulation scheme is pretty well balanced.  The wings can be a little floppy in certain poses, but they hold up alright, and the core body is on par with the rest of this line-up’s articulation.  Sam’s got an all-new sculpt based on his final episode design from the show, and let me take a moment here to once again discuss how strong many of the costume choices have been for these shows.  Much like Wanda’s Scarlet Witch design, Sam’s Captain America uniform is a quite faithful adaptation of his Cap suit from the comics.  I was quite a fan of that design in 2D, and I think it translated amazingly well to live action.  Rather fittingly, it’s also translated quite nicely into toy form.  The costume details match up quite nicely with those seen on the screen, and the head sports Hasbro’s best Anthony Mackie sculpt so far (which is saying something, because the prior Legends version was pretty good to begin with).  Most impressively, this time around the goggles are actually a separate piece, with a slight translucent feature to them, so you can ever so slightly see his eyes peeking out from beneath them.  If I have one complaint, it’s that he does still seem maybe a little too thin for Mackie’s build in the show.  That said, it’s not quite as bad as the prior figure, and on top of that, Mackie has also slimmed down a bit as his appearances have progressed, so it’s not terrible.  He still looks pretty good.  Generally speaking, his paint work is decent.  It’s not quite as sharp as some more recent MCU offerings, I think partially owing to just how much is going on with it, and there’s a few spots of bleed over and slop around the edges, but for the most part it looks okay.  I was certainly glad that they actually put the proper color change ups on the wings.  The core Cap figure is packed with the collapsed version of his wing pack, as well as his shield (which is distinctly different from Steve’s, as it should be).  I was a little letdown that he didn’t get any alternate hands, since he’s just got the open gesture ones.  They aren’t as limiting as just fists, or something, but I do still wish we’d gotten at least one more set, just to have the option.  The Build-A-Figure parts add in the whole extended wing pack, of course, which swaps out for the collapsed piece.  It also gives him the upgraded version of Redwing (which I really love that we got), who has his own flight attachment on the pack, and a stand to held support him when he’s got the full wing pack on.  While the core figure is perhaps lacking a touch, the full BaF treatment definitely makes him feel more complete.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

There was debate after Endgame about whether Sam should really be the next Cap.  As a longtime classic Cap fan, I’ve always felt he was the always the logical choice, so I was definitely there for it.  I really enjoyed seeing his journey to claiming the mantle, and I absolutely loved seeing his full Cap look in action, so I was definitely down for getting it in figure form.  I think the whole Build-A-Figure set-up worked pretty well for him, and the resulting figure is the best MCU version of Sam we’ve gotten so far, certainly worthy of the quality of the show.

I am, at this time, going to again get into some post-Jess stuff here, so another fair warning.  The MCU Falcon in Legends form definitely has some strong ties to Jess for me, because Winter Soldier was the first movie we saw in the theater together, not long after we started dating, and she also put a very large amount of effort into making sure that I got the first Legends MCU Falcon for Christmas the year it was released.  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was also the last thing that the two of us got to watch start to finish together.  So, there’s already a fair bit of meaningful attachment to this guy.  But this whole set of figures gets an extra final little push, courtesy of some incredible generosity on the part of Jason over at All Time Toys.  Throughout all of Jess’s treatments and struggles, and our personal battles, Jason and the rest of the team at All Time Toys have been nothing short of amazing, doing whatever they could.  In the case of this particular round of figures, on the day Jess passed, Jason showed up at my house with this set in tow.  It’s a not small gesture, and it gave me something to focus myself on in the days immediately following losing Jess, which was an invaluable resource for getting myself back on my feet.  I was already poised to really like this set of figures, but now it’s a very special symbol of both the wonderful times I had with Jess and of the people who have been supporting me through these trying times.

#2828: Baron Zemo

BARON ZEMO

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Baron Zemo, the Sokovian special forces officer who targeted the Avengers, has been rotting in a German prison, but recent events will reignite him with a ferocity.”

Helmut Zemo was introduced into the MCU as the primary antagonist of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.  Though still associated with Captain America, Helmut’s story was rather changed from that of his comics counterpart.  Yes, he was still a master schemer largely fueled by revenge, but he was seemingly just a pedestrian on the sidelines of a larger tragedy, not the megalomaniac heir to another megalomaniac, who had a personal vendetta against Captain America in particular.   He was, however, one of the MCU’s most fully-crafted villains, and, since he was also one of the few not to be killed at the end of his introductory appearance, there was plenty of room to bring him back in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, for another rather fabulous run with the character.  And, along the way, we also got to see him reclaim a little bit more of his comics background, since the show revealed that Zemo was, as he always has been, a Baron.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Baron Zemo is figure 6 in the Disney+-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  He’s the third figure based on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and also the first figure for the MCU version of Zemo in this line (not terribly surprising, since he was just a fairly average looking guy in Civil War).  Zemo is seen here in his full-on, more classically Baron Zemo-inspired attire, which served as is main look on the show, and is also by far his most distinctive appearance thus far.  It’s a definite update and change from his comics gear, which has always been a little more on the fantastical side, but it captures the feel of the character very strongly, and just really looks cool.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 30 points of articulation.  The articulation on the figure isn’t quite as strong as some more recent offerings, but it works well enough for the sorts of poses a character like Zemo needs to be able to pull, and it doesn’t impact the layout of the sculpt too badly.  He also has the pin-less set-up on his arms, which makes him look a little cleaner.  Zemo’s sculpt is largely new.  The legs are shared with the Coulson mold, but otherwise it’s all new.  It’s a pretty decent offering, all things considered.  There’s a lot of pretty nifty detail work going on, and the head’s got a pretty solid likeness of Daniel Brühl.  On one hand, I sort of wish he had a more playful expression, given the character’s almost goofy charm, but at the same time, the slightly more serious look is probably more versatile, and therefore a bit more appropriate.  The paint work on Zemo is decent, though not without its slight oddities.  The most notable weird thing is definitely the hair, which is slightly purple for some reason.  Not sure why, but I’d guess it was some sort of mix-up in terms of coloring at the factory.  It’s not the worst thing, and it honestly is easy to miss for the most part, but it’s slightly strange to be sure.  Otherwise, the paint’s pretty straight forward, and generally a good match for the source material.  Zemo probably makes out the best of this whole assortment when it comes to accessories.  He’s got an alternate masked head, two sets of hands (a pair of fists, and a grip/pointing combo), a gold pistol, the book containing Winter Soldier’s programming, and the final piece to Captain America’s wings.  It’s a pretty nice selection of parts, and generally makes for a good variety of looks.  Technically, the gun’s not really right, since it’s a re-use of the Yon-Rogg piece again, which makes it a little more space age-y than it maybe should be, but I like it’s general design enough that I’m not terribly bothered by it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Zemo’s impressed me as a character since Civil War, but that movie didn’t really give him much to go on in terms of a look for action figures.  His new design is way more toyetic, and was certainly high on my list from the time it was shown off.  His figure translates that design into toy form pretty nicely, and gives us one of the MCU’s best villains in proper action figure form.  He’s definitely a fun one.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2825: U.S. Agent

U.S. AGENT

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“After being stripped of the Captain America title, John F. Walker’s spirit is shaken and he takes on a new mantle: US Agent.”

John Walker is always sort of a necessary evil when it comes to the Captain America mythos.  He’s kind of got to be there to remind you of the things that Steve Rogers isn’t, and never should be.  The Ultimate Universe had no John Walker, and it kind of showed, because the end result was a Steve Rogers that wound up with a lot of John’s traits.  In the case of the MCU, they really hammered home that comparison to Steve, by actively making John a character that almost feels like Steve at first glance, but who quickly becomes very not Steve very suddenly.  It was an intriguing story, though perhaps not an overly pleasant one.  But, much like the comics, John’s not meant to stay in the Captain America role, and the show ends with him transitioned into the role he’s been in for about four decades in the comics: US Agent, the guy who can be what Captain America isn’t.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

US Agent is figure 5 in the Disney+-themed assortment of Marvel Legends.  Given’s John very prominent role within the story, he’s a natural choice for the line-up, though it is obviously a slight change-up that he’s in his US Agent garb, which he only wears for a single non-action scene in the final episode, rather than the Captain America costume he wears for most of the show (which itself got a Walmart-exclusive release).  This gets into what I was saying with the Loki review, where I mentioned the set’s tendency to go with the looks with more staying power, which is what I’d say is true of this look over John’s Cap look.  The figure stands a little over 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  His articulation scheme is on par with the more recent Steve Caps, which feels appropriately consistent.  There are probably some areas where he could stand to have a little more range, but for the most part, he does what he needs to do.  His sculpt is, rather predictably, shared with the John Walker Cap figure.  The two designs are very similar, and it only makes sense, really.  It’s a pretty good sculpt for the most part, capturing Walker’s slightly larger build, as well as all of the smaller details in the suit’s design.  I’m not big on the molded gun in the holster, especially at this point in the line, but there may be some licensing things going on there.  Unfortunately, the decision to do a complete parts share means that his helmet’s not screen accurate, since John’s US Agent helmet doesn’t have the A-Star on the forehead. It’s too bad they couldn’t do that one new piece, but I have to wonder if it may have been an early design element.  On top of the sculpt issue on the helmet, John’s paint also takes a slight hit.  They’ve clearly just used the same paint masks as the Cap figure, but with some of the colors changed out.  For the most part, this is fine, but in the case of his torso, it means that he’s got smaller red straps over a black chest, when going by the show, the chest part should be red, and the straps should be white, making for that true US Agent look a la the comics.  This ultimately bugs me more than the helmet, because this isn’t even a cost of tooling issue; it would literally just be changing out the paint apps.  This further adds to me wondering if maybe the US Agent costume wasn’t as different in the original designs, and that’s what we’re seeing here.  John is packed with two sets of hands, one set in fists, the other gripping, as well as another piece to the Captain America wings.  Even if his gun is molded into the holster on the figure, it’s still again a shame that the gun wasn’t also included.  I’m pretty sure we’ve already got the mold for it and everything.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’ve always liked John Walker as a concept (though I don’t actually like John Walker as a guy, because he’s generally not the best), so I liked that they brought him into the show, and I liked that they allowed him to have his proper arc.  Wyatt Russell was fantastic in the role, and I look forward to seeing more of the character, even if I don’t actually look forward to seeing him.  While his Cap design was cool, I didn’t really find myself drawn into the exclusive, because, for me, he’s not Cap, he’s US Agent.  This figure has its few issues of accuracy, but even so, I do still really like him as a figure.

Thanks to my sponsors over at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure to review.  If you’re looking for cool toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2824: Winter Soldier

WINTER SOLDIER

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Thrust back into the real world, Bucky is forced to figure out how to become James Barnes again, all while facing demons from his past”

In the comics, Bucky Barnes’s arc after his return as the Winter Soldier had him rather quickly recovering from the brainwashing and becoming one of Cap’s allies again.  For the MCU, his path has been a slower, and ore turbulent one, with his initial return even ending with a bit of uncertainty about what was to happen to him.  Obviously, it’s not been a huge surprise that he’s been generally following his comics-counterpart’s path, but just in a slightly more involved way.  The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delves into the trauma that lies within Bucky’s mind as a result of his time as the Winter Soldier, as well as showing us the true struggles he faces on his path back to “normality.”  It also gives a very convincing rationale in-universe about why the MCU version of Bucky has no desire to be Captain America, in contrast to his path in the comics.  At the end of the series, his contentment in his own role shows how far he has come as a character, and really feels very earned within the context of the story that’s been building.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Winter Soldier is figure 4 in the Disney+-based assortment of Marvel Legends, and is the first of the figures from the set based on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is the primary focus of this assortment.  While Bucky spends a lot of the show’s run time in rather average civilian attire, the figure opts for his true combat look from the show, which plays prominently into some of the early in-show missions, as well as the finale.  It’s a design that plays pretty heavily into his classic Bucky design, moreso than his Winter Soldier look, which fits well with the arc his character is going through, as well as fitting with the general evolution of his designs post Winter Soldier, which have slowly morphed him back to that more The First Avenger look for him.  The figure stands about 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  The ab-crunch on Bucky feels a little bit limiting, but otherwise, it’s a pretty good articulation set, and he benefits from having the pin-less construction for both his elbows and knees.  The last Winter Soldier we got has some parts re-use going on, but this one is an all-new sculpt.  It’s a pretty darn nice one, at that.  The head is by far the best Sebastian Stan likeness we’ve gotten so far, and it’s also nice to finally get a proper new sculpt for his new robot arm (though it is a shame it’s not more easily removable).  In terms of paint work, Bucky’s pretty decent overall, and actually tries a bit more than a lot of more recent offerings.  The base work is all pretty clean and straight forward, and the gold on the arm looks pretty spiffy.  By far the best work is on the face, which even manages to get his stubble on there rather believably.  The jacket is an interesting set-up, because they’ve attempted to do a little bit of variance on the shades of blue, as if it’s maybe a little worn in.  I’m not sure it quite works they way they were hoping for, but it’s also not as bad as it could be.  Maybe the changes between the shades could be a bit more subtle, but I’m happy to see them at least trying something different.  There’s also some slightly accenting on his hair, giving it a slight bit of brown, which looks quite nice.  Bucky’s packed with two sets of hands, one set open, the other in fists, as well as part of Captain America’s wings.  Just getting the hands does seem a little light, and it feels like he’s forever cursed to not actually get any proper firearms, but on the other hand, his arc in the show also has him angling himself a bit more away from those sorts of things, so I guess there’s that.  Still, I would have liked to see maybe something else.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Winter Soldier figures tend to be a bit of a mixed bag for Legends, where there’s always something that really holds them back.  This one doesn’t really have that going on.  While the accessories are maybe a little light, there aren’t any glaring issues with the figure, and he just feels like a really solid representation of the character.  I also just find myself liking this representation of the character in general, so I’m kind of glad that this is the one where Hasbro really put in the effort for the character.

Winter Soldier was purchased from my friends at All Time Toys.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.